The P Word I Am Afraid To Say Out Loud

I have to be honest. I am so afraid to say it out loud.

You know- the p word.

The word that sends some people into a frenzy. The word that if you say it other Christian parents may look at you like they are getting ready to close their ESV Study Bible App on their smart phone to dial child protective services.

The p word that gets a lot of scrutiny in my Facebook feed.

You know.

Public.

The p word.

There I said it out loud.

Public school.

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I am not exaggerating here at all. For months I have been afraid to stand up and say the p word out loud in this very sentence, “Yes. We are sending our Christian children to public school.”

My husband and I have spent years thinking and praying about this decision. We have spent years in student ministry, eight to be exact, walking alongside families and observing the benefits of homeschooling, private Christian schooling and public schooling alike.

There are so many great options for school for our young children. I am trained early childhood educator with four years of experience under my belt. I have taught many children to read and write, I know the pedagogy and I have the temperament. Since before my children were born I thought it would the ideal option to educate my own children in my home. In addition to the pedagogy I have community. I have so many friends whom I respect like crazy involved in homeschooling and collaborative learning coops. Really- I respect and love many homeschooling families.

Homeschooling is an excellent educational choice for Christian families.

In our community there are also great options for private Christian schooling. These are schools where you will find more families we love and respect. Within the walls of the school children are educated and cared for by many of the men and women who attend and serve in our church. In these schools God and learning are seen as inseparable and Christian love and community are valued above all else.

Private Christian schooling is an excellent educational choice.

Also in our community we have access to one of the best school districts in the state.

In our community, public school is an excellent educational choice.

For our family, over the course of many years, my husband and I feel strongly that God is calling us to the p word.

Public schooling. I said it out loud again.

We believe this is the excellent educational choice for many reasons which I do not want to elaborate on in this post. But what I do want you to know is…

Public schooling is an excellent educational choice for Christian families and as I walk in my educational choice and the story God is writing for me I hope we can still be friends.

I hope we can still be friends even though your educational choice is different than my own.

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I also want you to know I am afraid to send my sweet baby boy to school. I will need my friends to come alongside me in the fall when my sweet five year old boy rides down the road on that big yellow school bus.

I will need my Christian friends, homeschooling, private schooling and public schooling alike to hold my hand and say, “you are making an excellent educational choice. May God be glorified as you follow His calling and walk in the story He is writing for you and your children.”

I need you to encourage me as I let go of my children one by one and watch each of them ride down the road on that yellow school bus. I need your encouragement as I let go of the control of their schedules and as I trust God to write their own little stories. No matter how badly I want to be the author of their little stories, I am not. It is Him who is holding them in the big scary hallways and on the big yellow school bus without seat belts.

I want my friends to help me remember my children are His and nothing – not even common core – can separate His children from His love.

No matter the curriculum God can be glorified. That is the chief end of man. To glorify God. The chief end is not which curriculum is best suited for children.

I need you to help me remember that my God is bigger than an educational choice. That the salvation of these precious children is not reliant upon which school is listed on their diploma but what is written on their hearts.

I need you to help me remember that an educational choice is a conviction derived from the scriptures and an educational choice is not my God.

I need all my friends to help me remember that God sees my children. God protects my children when they are away from me. There is so much fear surrounding the moment when you let your child step into this world without you – whether they are five or eighteen. I need all of my friends to help me remember that it is God who is pursing them with a never giving up always and forever kind of love. Even on the school buses and in the throws of standardized testing.

I need all the members of my church body to walk with me and my family in our educational choice.

All educational choices are excellent educational choices for Christian families.

After all, the body needs all of our educational choices. The church is a unified body under Christ but that does not mean we must be uniform. We need all the educational choices to make us a body made of different parts. We need the hands, we need the feet and we need the eyes.

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If we choose the p word we need our Christian body to love us in our educational decision. Even if it is different. Even if the choice doesn’t seem to make sense to you.

I think we can do better in the body to make sure every part feels they are making an excellent educational choice.

We can do better so parents do not feel their educational choice is greater than or less than other families in the pews.

The p word doesn’t need to evoke a frenzy or a “bless their heart” kind of prayer.

We can do better to recognize the p word as an excellent educational choice. A choice of the members of a unified body.

I hope we can still be friends no that you know what I have been afraid to say for so long.

We are sending our Christian children to public school and like every other option available, public education is an excellent educational choice.

10 thoughts on “The P Word I Am Afraid To Say Out Loud

  1. Ken McAfee says:

    We started our children in private Christian school, and then moved to a district where we liked the public school district and put them in public school. Recently we talked to our 14-year-old daughter E. about that decision after she visited with a friend still in that school and she thanked us! My heart swelled with parental-pride in her growth as she pointed out the wisdom of that change to public school for her, logically enumerating the benefits as she saw them. Every parent must make the choice for their children, and we should all support each others’ decisions. Furthermore, should the church abandon the realm of the public schools, then who will fight for biblical truth there?

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  2. Kathy Toth says:

    Very well written Rachel and something we all need to remember as we share in the common community of our particular congregation. NCCC has always been a diverse educational community and as you said so well – we need each other’s support as we prayfully make the best decisions for our own children.

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  3. Todd D. Nystrom says:

    Rachel,

    Some will be quick to judge this choice, and others will be supportive. I hope that within our own congregation you will recieve nothing but encouragement and prayer! It is so easy for people to criticize this choice, but both of our children “survived” just fine in the public schools. Of course there will challenges and subjects that will be taught from a non-Christian perspective, but we have a gracious God who is sovereign over all of life who will be watching over your precious children every minute of every day!

    Besides, to those who gasp in horror at this decision, I would ask, how are we as Christians to be witnesses of Christ’s gospel to a lost world if we seal ourselves in and never venture outside the walls of our churches and homes! Jesus himself was criticized for “choices” that He made:

    And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” ~Matthew 9:10-13 (ESV)

    All of this is not to say that there is anything wrong with the other options, either. God calls each of us to different functions within the body, as it says in 1 Corinthians 12:12, “For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.” (ESV)

    You and your precious children are in my prayers always. Having your family as a part of our church is truly a blessing!

    Yours in Christ,
    Todd

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